Fishing Report - November 3, 2017

 

OVERVIEW - With the temperatures up and down like a yo-yo, the fish are confused. Water temperatures are still in the mid 60s to low 70s throughout the state. This has stalled the baitfish and bass movement to the backs of the creeks. As a result, bass are orienting to remaining green grass and to flats adjacent to dropoffs. Rocky points and boat docks are also holding fish, primarily on the main river channels and deeper creek channels.

POTOMAC RIVER - D.C. - Larger bass are located in deeper water adjacent to structure. Dropoffs are the better choices, particularly when submerged wood cover exists. Smaller bass are roaming shallow gravel banks adjacent to the dropoffs. Small plastic grubs, jig 'n pig and spinnerbaits tipped with pork frogs are the better choices for lures. Yamamoto Senkos, rigged wacky style are working very well, as are split shot rigged, four inch worms. Live bait is working well for those who are using it. Choose a bank that drops into 10-20 feet of water and fish the baits on the lip of the drop, or near the bottom for best results. When using live bait, put one bait up on the shallow portion of the bank while fishing the deeper water with a second bait. This will enable you to catch the fish that come up into the shallows to feed. Blue Plains sewage outfall is a prime spot for bass during cold weather. The water here is warmer than the surrounding water, causing the fish to feed more often. Crappie are schooled and biting well on live minnows in Washington Channel and Washington Sailing Marina, around the boat docks and submerged pilings. The Spoils, Fletchers Cove and Belle Haven Cove are other good locations for crappie. Catfish are available on cut and live bait throughout the river channel. Yellow perch are active around Roosevelt Island, taking small minnows, plastic grubs and horsehead jigs. Stripers are active in Washington Channel, Blue Plains, Fox Ferry and the Virginia Shoreline off the downriver point of National Airport. Almost any white or silver, minnow imitating crankbait will take these strong fighting fish.

POTOMAC RIVER - BELOW WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE - Grass is dying and breaking up as the water temperatures drop. Bass are pulling off into deeper water adjacent to the grass beds. Shaky Heads, tipped with Zoom Trick Worms and drop shot rigs are better choices in deep water and around wood cover such as boat docks. Topwater baits remain good early and late in the day. Small crankbaits, retrieved very slowly, will take the fish in the shallows. Live bait is working better than artificials throughout the river system. Crappie are biting well in some of the creeks, notably Aquia and Mattawoman. Small minnows are the ticket. Stripers are active around almost any cover or structure with current breaking around it, although most of them are small. Crankbaits in white or silver are working well, as are Sassy Shads on 1/2 oz. jigheads.

OCCOQUAN RIVER - Crankbaits, worked along the rock wall, are taking a few bass in this river. Most of the bass, however, are being caught in deeper water, on dropoffs. Better baits include live minnows, Shaky Heads, drop shot rigs and Silver Buddies. Crankbaits that root the bottom in 15 feet or more of water will occasionally turn a good fish or two. The rock wall along the North shore, rocky points and submerged pilings are some of the better areas to fish. Crappie and bluegill are taking small minnows around the boat docks, where the occasional good bass will also hit. Catfish are being caught by crappie fishermen on minnows, but there are few anglers fishing for them. When fishing this river, always take the time to investigate the rocks in the back of the river. This area is constantly being flushed by the overflow from the Occoquan Reservoir and will hold some good schools of fish at various times. One never knows what species of fish are feeding here at any given time. Lots of stripers are normally feeding there at this time of year.

OCCOQUAN RESERVOIR - Bass are still being taken downlake on the main lake points by anglers fishing plastics and jig 'n pig baits on the dropping slopes. Deep diving crankbaits are also taking a few bass. Uplake, bass are more often found on wood cover in 8-10 feet of water. Slow-rolled spinnerbaits and jig 'n pig baits are the more successful baits. Crappie are schooled up tight and suspended in 10-12 feet of water, near wood cover and brushpiles. Catfish are not showing much.

BURKE LAKE - Very few anglers out. Those who are fishing are taking bass on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and buzzbaits along the North shoreline dropoffs. Crappie are sure to be biting small minnows, but no reports are available.

POTOMAC RIVER - UPPER - Smallmouth action is slow and primarily limited to the deeper holes in the river. Fish jumbo minnows in the holes for the larger fish. Hair jigs with plastic chunks attached will also tempt the bass when fished very slowly in the deeper water. The warmwater discharge canal at Dickerson Power Plant is providing some action for anglers using small minnows, nightcrawlers and plastic grubs. Smallmouth bass and channel catfish are being taken with regularity. Crappie are being taken at the mouth of Goose Creek and Broad Run on live minnows and small jigs.

RAPPAHANNOCK RIVER - Live minnows and Beetlespins are taking good numbers of smallmouth bass above the city. The tidal stretch is showing some jumbo blue catfish for anglers fishing large shad baits in the outside bends of the river channel. Some bass action is to be had by anglers fishing the blowdowns along the southern shoreline. Better baits are live minnows, plastic grubs and jig 'n pig. Crappie anglers are loading up on live minnows and tiny jigs, fished around the blowdowns along the shoreline below the city.

SHENANDOAH RIVER - Most anglers are hunting, but some anglers are out. Those fishing live bait and small plastic grubs are doing well on smallmouth bass, sunfish and channel catfish.

MATTAPONI/PAMUNKEY RIVERS - Schooled crappie are taking small minnows and Beetlespins. Stripers are taking bloodworms and peeler crab baits, from Aylett to the York, with the best action being around the West Point bridges. White perch are being taken on bloodworms and small minnows. Bass action is limited, but some fish are being caught on flats adjacent to the river channel. Best baits are small crankbaits, plastic grubs and small spinnerbaits. Catfish action has slowed.

LAKE ANNA - Striper fishing is good at this time. The stripers are working the shad schools on top in the early morning and late evening, and marauding the schools in the depths during the day. Topwater plugs are taking good numbers of 8-10 pounders off the rocks at Dike #3 at daybreak. The roaming schools are also present from Sturgeon Creek to the Splits. After the fish quit working the surface, Cordell Redfins and four inch, chartreuse Sassy Shads are the better baits. Largemouth bass are being found at all depths and the better baits are jig 'n pig, Hopkins Spoons, Shaky Heads, crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Best action downlake seems to be in 30 feet of water, where the fish are taking jigged Rat-L-Traps or Hopkins spoons. Bass are also to be found on rocky points. Uplake, the bass are found shallow in 1-3 feet of water in willow grass where they are taking spinnerbaits, Senkos and small crankbaits. Above the Harris Bridge, the grass is dead and the bass have left the grass beds. Crappie fishing is excellent under the bridges and suspended over creek channels. Tiny Hopkins spoons, tiny jigs and live minnows are the choice for baits.

JAMES RIVER - Smallmouth bass are the talk on this body of water. Lots of big smallmouth are being taken in the city of Richmond. Mad toms, live minnows and crayfish are taking the fish. Below the city, lots of smallmouth, largemouth and crappie are being caught on minnows, fished along the dropoffs and brushpiles throughout the river. Catfishing is fair to good with the better action being on cut bait in the outside bends of the tidal river. Striper fishing is excellent in the tidal portion of the river, with lots of fish being taken around the power lines below Jordan Point.

LAKE CHESDIN - Crappie fishing is excellent, with lots of good fish available. Bass fishing is running hot and cold. Some big fish being caught on slow-rolled spinnerbaits and crankbaits, fished along the outside edges of the vegetation, along the channel dropoffs. Stripers are being caught in the grass on live minnows, spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

CHICKAHOMINY RIVER - Lots of anglers fishing the river are taking largemouth bass, striped bass, and crappie. Most of the fish are being caught on live minnows, although a good many fish are taking Rat-L-Traps. Best luck seems to be at the mouths of the feeder creeks on the outgoing tides. On incoming tides, fish boat docks with Texas rigged plastics or drop shot rigs. Bottom fishing jumbo minnows in the main river channel is also producing good sized channel and blue catfish.

CHICKAHOMINY LAKE - Chain pickerel are very active and taking jumbo minnows. Crappie are schooled up tight and may be caught on small minnows. Bass and catfish anglers are also taking some fish, with most of the action coming on live minnows.

LITTLE CREEK RESERVOIR - Lots of bass in the coves on crankbaits, spinnerbaits and plastic worms. Topwater should work until midday. Rat-L-Traps, fished on points are also taking good bass. Crappie are starting to school in the mouths of creeks and larger coves, holding along or just above the grass line in 12-20 feet of water. Bluegills are feeding along the inside grass line about 15 feet offshore, taking red worms, small jigs and inline spinners. Some catfish are also being caught.

BACK BAY - Action here is limited to white perch and small bass, although a few crappie and small catfish are also being caught. Most of the action is centered in the creeks, with West Neck Creek producing very well.

SUFFOLK LAKES - Western Branch anglers are taking good numbers of stripers, to 10 pounds. Lake Prince is showing a few small bass and pickerel, along with good numbers of stripers. Anglers fishing Cohoon and Meade are bringing in a mixed bag of small bass, crappie, yellow perch and pickerel. A few small stripers are also being caught. Lake Smith anglers are taking a few small catfish and crappie.

LAKE GASTON - Crappie are stacked around the boat docks and submerged brushpiles. Largemouth bass are hitting jigs, Shaky Heads, slow retrieved crankbaits and small spinnerbaits. Stripers are holding around the bridges, with the better action in Pea Hill Creek and at the mouth of Songbird and Lizard Creeks. Successful anglers are using live shad baits.

BUGGS ISLAND LAKE - Bass fishing is good throughout the lake, with the bass holding in pockets, coves and bluff banks. Rattletraps, ripped through the pockets and coves, are producing 2-5 pound largemouths. Stripers are being caught while trolling with bucktails and live shad around the Clarksville area. Casting into roaming schools of shad is producing both large bass and stripers. Better choice of casting baits are Rat-L-Traps and four inch Sassy Shads. Crappie anglers are loading coolers with good fish caught around the pilings of the Clarksville Bridges and brushpiles in the creeks.

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE - Stripers are taking live shad, trolled slowly behind the boats. Most of the stripers are in the 10-12 pound range, but plenty of them are to be had. A few large fish, up to 20+ pounds, are also being caught but these are being caught by the locals who are fishing almost non-stop this time of year. Walleye and largemouth bass are taking live shad, fished on the bottom along the main lake points. Lots of smallmouth bass are also reported, by anglers fishing bucktails. Crappie anglers are loading up on fish to three pounds, caught around the submerged brushpiles throughout the lake.

LEESVILLE RESERVOIR - Citation size Rock Bass are hitting minnows and jigs consistently. Largemouth bass action is also good, but most anglers are concentrating on the rock bass. Striper action is fair to good with the best catches coming on live shad.

LAKE MOOMAW - Only a few small trout are being caught by anglers fishing live bait. Smallmouth bass are being taken by anglers fishing jig 'n pig and spinnerbaits on points, dropping into 20+ feet of water. Trout fishing is good in the Jackson River, below the dam.

SOUTH HOLSTON RESERVOIR - Casting into the shools of shad should produce fish. Crappie catches are improving daily, with lots of limits being caught on live minnows and tiny jigs.

CLAYTOR LAKE - Fishing overall is slow. Striper action is still good on topwater lures, early and late in the day. Crappie are biting regularly on tiny jigs and minnows, fished over brushpiles.

NEW RIVER - Top water lures continue to take many smallmouth bass. Best method has topwaters fished with no action, and Rapalas twitched quickly under the surface. Jig 'n pig anglers, fishing the ledges, are also taking some good smallmouth.

PHILPOTT LAKE - Smallmouth bass to five pounds are being caught on live minnows and brown plastic grubs in 25-30 feet of water. Largemouth bass are taking spinnerbaits, jig 'n pig and plastic worms on points adjacent to creek channels. Crappie and catfish are still taking live bait. Trout action has been good on the Smith River.

TROUT STREAMS - Good catches of trout for anglers using nymphs, streamers, and small spinners in the Tye River. The South Fork of the Holston River in Smyth County is also providing anglers with nice catches. Rainbow trout are hitting nymphs fished just under the surface at Silver Lake in Rockingham County. Another good spot for trout fishermen is the Tomahawk Pond in Shenandoah County.